Startup Branding Principles

Branding. The difference between a successful company and a failed one depends as much on branding efforts as it does on the quality of the product or service. Therefore, one needs to plan way ahead as to how they are going to create a brand identity for their business.

Branding is not an easy task for a company, particularly as it must also be worried about product development and other projects. However, it’s not something that can be overlooked or put off to a later date. Therefore, we have tried to put out a few principles that would greatly help you in creating your brand identity. Let’s take a look at these principles.

Be Classic.

The Coca-Cola Company. [KO]

Brands sometimes think that they should always use the latest trends when creating a brand identity for their business. While including latest design trends is something that is always recommended, it does not mean you cannot include classic design elements in branding. In fact, it’s the classic elements that give a timeless feeling to the brand, increasing a brand’s reputation and gaining people’s trust. Note that Coca-Cola’s internationally recognized logo hasn’t changed significantly in over a century. Coca-Cola has topped Interbrand’s “Best Global Brands” list every year until 2013, when it was overtaken by Apple and Google.

Align it with your company’s image.

Tesla Inc. [TSLA]

Not only should your branding describe the industry you are in, but it should also be aligned with the broader image or theme of your company. From your company’s logo to the website, everything should be based on a theme that tells the story of your brand. Your branding should create excitement among the target audience so they want to know more about the product or service. You’ll note that everything from Tesla’s logo to car emblem features sleek, futuristic lines that communicate a sense of modernization, performance and efficiency. Readers will get a more coherent message about your company’s mission and core values.

Make the brand unique.

Often, businesses will try to compete with established players in the market by copying or borrowing heavily from their brand design. At other times, it just happens subconsciously or by chance as marketers spend a significant amount of time researching competitors. In any case, make sure that your company’s branding is sufficiently differentiated from your competitors’ designs. Not only would this create confusion but also create a negative impression about your company among your target customers. Instead of associating your brand with originality and uniqueness, the market might view it as dishonest.To ensure that such a thing does not occur while designing, we recommend that you always get the design tested by someone with fresh eyes and knowledge of the market. This way you can more easily identify potential resemblances between your brand and those of competing firms.

Adapt it to multiple platforms.

In the digital era, your brand design is going to be everywhere. From your website to social media pages, it is going to be seen on various platforms and on various device types. It may also be used in several offline channels such as newspapers, magazines and other traditional print media. As such you need to make sure that the design created works on multiple platforms and can easily adjust to different screen sizes.

Don’t use too many colors.

FedEx Corporation. [FDX]

Companies may be tempted to use too many colors in their brand design. They often assume this will make their logos more memorable and eye catching. However, this has the risk of appearing too flashy and perhaps even desperate. Therefore, we recommend that you always restrict yourself to two colors other than black and white. Also, ensure that these two colors are used in all your branding campaigns for consistency in messaging.

Use minimal features.

There was a time when designers used to employ many different design elements, fonts and sizes in their projects. But today, the trend is different and many are shifting toward minimalism. Be it the font, vector, color or size, designers often try to limit variations that are more likely to distract than to help viewers. This creates uniformity and consistency, improving the chances of sticking in the minds of the audience.

Name must be easy to remember.

Apple Inc. [AAPL]

A name should not strive to be so unique as to make it hard to remember. Often, familiar objects and names resonate more strongly with average customers. However, this must be balanced against the risk of having such a generic name that it gets confused with other brands. Like anything else in marketing, it involves a tradeoff between risk and reward. More ambitious names might catch attention, but familiar names might be more memorable to users.

Keep the motto short and catchy.

McDonald’s. [MCD]

The motto helps people understand precisely what your company does. Thus, it often accompanies the logo on key branding material. So ensure that you craft a motto that is short, catchy and memorable. It should also accurately reflect the company’s vision and perhaps also its culture. As two noteworthy examples, consider Apple’s motto, “Think different” or McDonald’s motto, “I’m lovin’ it.” Dell’s motto, “Dell. Purely you.” Explicitly includes its own name. While it’s often unnecessary, it could emphasize the personalization that goes into each individual product.

Use enough white space.

USA Network. [CMCSA subsidiary]

In the effort to communicate as much information as possible through the campaign, marketers and designers often overload the canvas with too much text. This makes it harder for readers to focus on what’s important, and may get lost in the sea of words. This could also intimidate viewers who don’t like to read, or simply find pictures to be more pleasant. So always ensure there is enough white space in your designs. This includes the space between elements, as well as the space near the periphery or the border.

As a company, it’s critical to optimize your branding campaigns for maximum impact. The logo, brand name and motto are some of the essential features that contribute to your audience’s first impression of the company. Because the first impression has the risk of becoming the last impression, make sure your company gets this right.